What is most important when building your first website?

Real Estate Agent with Pearl Real Estate Marketing

There are all kinds of advice on how to build websites. It can be a real tough decision on the direction. If you make the wrong decision it can set you back several months and you could lose hundreds to thousands of dollars by dropping potential clients. Do you know where to begin? In this article, I will help you understand the decision you should make.

I have purchased several how-to guides on the internet. You know those that claim to help you earn $1,000,000 in your first month online. They have a thousand-word sales pitch before they tell you the answer is in an ebook that costs $24.99. In almost all cases the information in these ebooks was the same as in forums you can join for free. This is my first piece of advice. When you are making business decisions about online marketing, find a forum or a blog covering the topic. If you can, become a member; spend hours gleaning from the experience written there. This can save you from many of the pitfalls.

Most people have heard of search engines and how it is important to gain clients through search engine rankings. The higher you rank in the search engine the more visitors you receive. So, wouldn't it make sense to build your website for search engine rankings as the main priority? Many web designers use this approach, but it is wrong. You need to ask yourself a simple question. "Who is my audience?", or "Who are my customers". This answer needs to be the focus of your website. You can work to get rankings drawing in the visitors, if you can't retain them it is all for nothing.

With visitors as your primary focus, design the site around them. Some designers think bells and whistles are the most important features. Some think high end graphics' design is the most important feature. These both are secondary in importance. The most important feature is ease of use through the navigation. Most visitors will be looking for something specific. How easy will it be to find on your website? You will lose more than 50% of total visitors in the first 30 seconds if they can't navigate the website with ease. You will need to take the time to plan the navigation menu. What options are most important to your visitors? These need to be main categories. It is ok to have subcategories from these. Make them in a drop down or in a different color. Differentiate the primary categories from the subcategories. After the navigation work on the overall look and feel of the website; quality content worth reading and appealing photos become important. I have one note of warning. When using a lead capture form, collect only the necessary information. If you overload the visitor they will not give their information. I ask for name, email, and phone. I get about a 5% optin rate for Huntsville Alabama real estate. When it is all said and done, have a free offering on your website. I am personally working on a PDF relocation guide for Huntsville Alabama. The visitor must request a free copy via a user input form.

You may still be wondering about search engine rankings. Isn't it important to rank in the search engines? It is so very important to rank. Ranking is the primary source for visitors. However, search engines can't keep the visitor for you. You must make your site search engine friendly, but this is about formatting the completed website to meet the search engine guidelines. Many of the things important to the search engines don't affect the overall design and aren't really noticed by the visitor. When you figure out the profile for your visitors, design your website around their needs.

Comments (4)

Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

Congratulations on understanding what you need to do to have a viable and successful website. I think we all strive for that.

Nov 02, 2008 12:38 PM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

The only key for that success is a quality website name.  Great choice.

We stick to the basics of community involvement and face to face contact.  Love to make our website be TRULY efficient, but that is not the reality for us. 

Continue the good work........

Nov 02, 2008 12:57 PM
Kathleen Herron

Great article, really easy to understand. We had some in house doing all of this and now that person is me. So thank you for the information. Some of all the SEO,SMM,& SMO is starting to make sense. Appears that a lot of real estate web sites are being set-up on Wordress.

May 08, 2009 07:46 AM